Scott Tibbs
Submitted to the UCLA Daily Bruin, May 26, 2003

Back to Short Writings.

Violence unacceptable in affirmative-action debate

To the editor:

Sadly, I was not surprised to read that a Leftist student reacted violently to the "affirmative action bake sale" put on by the UCLA College Republicans. Violence seems to be increasingly accepted as a form of political protest, from the pro-abortion extremists who attack displays of the Genocide Awareness Project on other campuses to terrorist organizations like the Earth Liberation Front.

The person who vandalized the CR display should be universally denounced. This is not an act of political protest, it is an act of inexcusable thuggery. The UCLA College Republicans were using a controversial tactic to make a point on an already emotionally-charged issue. It is expected that such an action will result in inflamed emotions and heated rhetoric. College students are supposed to be mature enough to handle these events without resorting to violence.

If the act of violence was not bad enough itself, you have some extremists justifying the unjustifiable. Nashaua Neao should rethink his statement that "It just proves that you shouldn't have heated debates with offensive signs." What would he have said 40 years ago if ignorant racists had reacted violently to a similar display by civil rights activists? Would he have said that such violence is a natural reaction to the use of those tactics?

All sides of the affirmative action debate must immediately denounce all acts of violence that are used to silence legitimate political speech. Was the UCLA CR display "offensive"? To some people, yes. But those who react to political speech with violence, the most childish of reactions, are thugs and should be treated as such.